Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monsanto bets on biotech to feed growing demand

With increasing population, rising purchasing power, growing food consumption and changing dietary habits, how would the world feed itself, say, 20 years from now? Monsanto Company believes it has the answer.

The route to feeding the world is through innovations in technology today for tomorrow's crops, according to the global life-sciences major.

Unveiling a research-and-development pipeline filled with products that are designed to protect against significant crop-production challenges and increase yield potential, Dr Robb Fraley, Monsanto's Chief Technology Officer, said the company was already working on new products and new technologies targeted at doubling grain production.

Talking specifically about two of the US's largest crops, corn and soyabean, Dr Farley pointed out that compared with a decade ago, the US corn growers are currently using 14 per cent less land.
In case of soya, growers currently use 9 per cent less land, 21 per cent less water and 24 per cent less energy than 2000.

On way towards 2030, there will be more efforts to conserve natural resources and protect the environment, he said.

While transgenic corn today has as many as eight genes for herbicide resistance and insect protection, by 2030, the US corn yields are targeted to almost double to 300 bushels an acre from 155 bushels an acre currently with the use of technology. Then, modified seeds may carry more than 20 genes to ward off pests and diseases. Currently, as much as 85 per cent of acreage under corn in the US is biotech.

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